President Jacob Zuma has finally intervened in the ongoing student protests against fee rise. Zuma tells students to return to the classroom as his newly appointed task team look into their matter.
The president stated this while promising students that their demands for free education will soon be sorted out.
Zuma had on Tuesday, established a special ministerial task team who were to look into the students’ requests and try to ensure tertiary institutions returned to normal operations.
Included in the team are Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr. Bonginkosi “Blade” Nzimande, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe are amongst those part of the task team.
The team led by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, is to assist the Minister of Higher Education and Training to normalize the situation at higher education institutions across South Africa, working with all stakeholders.
Again, President Jacob Zuma tells students university management, parents, and religious leaders to co-operate with the team to ensure that students’ futures were not jeopardized.
Zuma has faced criticism from opposition parties for his silence following the violence on several campuses on Monday. Wits University students looted shops and set fire to a bus in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Government “remains committed” to promoting access to higher education for the children of the poor and working class, Zuma tells students, pointing out that the violence and destruction of school properties were not necessary.
Meanwhile, the #feesMustFall protest has seen many of the students being arrested across the country, while students, police and private security have been injured and an employee died at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits).
Acting Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane however, stated during a media briefing on security on Monday that the #FeesMustFall movement student protests are not a “state of emergency” as yet.